Farm News (11/3/15)


Important Reminders & Announcements:

  • This is a vegetable week for full and half-share members. We are also delivering dairy and egg shares this week.
  • Next week we will deliver vegetables for full-share members only. The fall season will conclude the week of November 17th-19th with vegetables, eggs, dairy and meat.
  • Don't miss out on the early-bird discount for 2016! Full season fruit shares and the 3-Season Vegetable Package are available at a 5% discount until December 1st. (The price on the website already reflects the 5% discount. There's no need to use a discount code.)
  • It's not too late to order a Thanksgiving turkey from Riemer Family Farms. Frozen turkeys will be available for pickup on Thursday, November 19th at our farm in Grayslake during regular CSA pickup hours (3:30 to 7:00). Please visit the Riemers' website to place an order and select Sandhill Family Farms as your pickup site, or contact Jen Riemer

This Week's Vegetable Share (full & half shares):
  • Sweet Potatoes 
  • Scarlet Turnips 
  • Carrots
  • Butternut Squash
  • Leeks
  • Curly Parsley
  • Kale
  • Red Onions
This Week's Dairy Share:
  • 'Driftless' a fresh sheep milk cheese from Hidden Springs Creamery
  • Greek Yogurt from Pastureland Cooperative
  • Cultured Butter with Sea Salt from Nordic Creamery
  • Muenster Cheese from Nordic Creamery

Driftless is a snowy-white soft cheese similar to chevre. It is made by shepherdess and cheesemaker Brenda Jensen. Brenda's farm is located in southwestern Wisconsin where the steep hills and lush valleys are perfect for pasturing dairy sheep. Since she started making cheese almost a decade ago, Brenda has earned a nationwide reputation as a top-tier cheesemaker. Her award-winning Driftless cheese is extremely versatile. Try a dallop of it on a baked potato or a bowl of ravioli, spread it on a bagel or baguette or scoop it up with some crunchy carrot sticks.

Farm Photo Journal
One of the best parts about being a CSA farmer is the opportunity to get to know so many wonderful people. We love the connection we have to our members, and we love working with such a fun and talented group of employees. As the season winds down, Sandhill crew members have been sharing their winter plans with one another. Some will return to Sandhill in the spring, some will start new jobs, and others are still undecided! As much as we are looking forward to the change of pace that winter brings, we will be sad to see some of our amazing staff leave the farm for good. Here are a few photos from this season that might give you a sense of what a fun and hardworking group of people we work with. 
The Sandhill Crew was there to celebrate with Donna, a four-year Sandhill veteran, when she and Peter were married this summer. Donna and Peter exchanged vows in a beautiful outdoor ceremony officiated by another longtime Sandhill employee (and ordained minister) Nadia Stefko. 
Every so often we try to make a point of taking time out from our regular hectic farm schedule to have a little fun together. This photo depicts the aftermath of the Second Annual Sandhill Pie Eating Contest.

 This one was taken on Saturday at the final Oak Park farmers' market of the season. In spite of the pouring rain, these cheerful Halloween mice (Jen, Donna and Charlotte) were in good spirits because of the love that loyal market shoppers showed them. Many came not only to shop, but also to thank all the farmers for their hard work. Some even brought gifts of baked goods and preserves. What a great way to end the market season!

We like this last photo because it captures the easygoing nature and good humor of the employee who has been with us the longest. Tyler Kroll is celebrating his tenth season with Sandhill. It's hard to imagine what this place would be like without him. Thank you, Tyler!

In the Farm Kitchen
This week's share contains some beautiful scarlet turnips. Scarlet turnips have a mild radish flavor and an inherent sweetness that can be played up in dishes that call for apples, apple juice or honey. Try grating a chunk of scarlet turnip into a salad (leave the skin on for maximum visual effect) and tossing with toasted walnuts, diced apple and a honey-dijon dressing. Enjoy!

This Week's Featured Recipes

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Kale & Fresh Sheep Cheese
4 medium sweet potatoes, pricked all over with a fork
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced crosswise
1 bunch kale, thick stems removed, leaves torn into large pieces and washed with water left clinging
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 cup Driftless sheep cheese (or substitute fresh ricotta)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and rub with 1 tablespoon oil. Bake until easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high. Add garlic; cook until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer garlic to a paper towel to drain.

Add as much kale as will fit in the skillet; season with salt and pepper. Continue to add kale as the leaves cook down. Cook, tossing frequently until tender, 5-8 minutes. Stir in vinegar and red-pepper flakes. Open each potato; add salt and pepper. Top with cheese, kale, and garlic.

Leek, Turnip & Rice Soup 
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and sliced
1 pound turnips, cut in 1/2-inch dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 quarts vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
Salt to taste
1 bay leaf
½ cup rice, preferably arborio
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Freshly grated Parmesan for serving
Herbed croutons for serving (optional)

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven and add the leeks. Cook, stirring often, until leeks are beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the turnips and continue to cook, stirring often, until the turnips are translucent and the leeks thoroughly tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the stock or water, salt, bay leaf and rice. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. If serving as is, add pepper, stir in the parsley and serve, over croutons if desired, passing Parmesan at the table for sprinkling. 
(Martha Rose Shulman in the New York Times)

Sweet Potato Puree
4 large sweet potatoes
grated rind of two lemons
juice of two lemons
1⁄2 cup butter softened
2 egg yolks
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt

Tart lemon peel is a great foil for the sweetness of sweet potatoes. Boil potatoes in water until tender. Hold potatoes with a pot holder and peel potatoes while they are still hot. Place them in the bowl, mash and mix with butter, lemon rind, lemon juice, egg yolks and sea salt. Transfer mixture to a buttered ovenproof casserole and bake in a 350-degree oven for about 1/2 hour.
(from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon)

Roasted Turnips and Pears with Rosemary-Honey Drizzle
1 pound turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes
2 firm ripe Bosc pears, unpeeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons Nordic Creamery butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together turnips and pears with oil and salt until well combined. Place in an even layer on prepared baking sheet. Transfer to oven and roast, turning with a spatula once or twice during cooking, until browned and turnips are easily pierced with a paring knife, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through baking.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add honey and rosemary; let simmer for a few seconds and remove from heat. Transfer turnips and pears to a large bowl and drizzle with butter mixture; toss to combine. Serve.
(from "Fast, Fresh & Green" by Susie Middleton)

Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, arugula, kohlrabi, leafy Asian cabbage, beets and fennel.

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  • Margaret Sheaffer